Abigail Foreman

A Gap Year In: Guyana
with project trust
Aug 1999 - Aug 2000

Newsletter No 3


Every day we have animals roaming in and out of our garden : cows, pigs, goats, chickens and dogs - and they all like to leave their little presents in the garden.
There are animals at the school as well. Cows, goats, goats and horses roam the grounds but dogs wander through the corridors.

Yet more wildlife

We have three lizards in the house. There is a tiny baby one that we see more than the others. We have called this one Izzie.
We have a big ant problem which means that we cannot leave anything dirty lying on the floor including clothes, as the ants all swarm all over them in a matter of minutes. When we first arrived we had many cockroaches but they seem to have all died.
We have a frog that lives under the fridge, but we only see her when it is raining. She is a small brown water frog who gives us quite a fright when she jumps out.

Our House

The house is a small white building built on stilts in case of flooding. The internal walls of the house are all partitions which do not reach the ceiling. This means we can talk to each other wherever we are in the house; even the toilet !
The house has a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. Two of us share each bedroom. When we arrived we had to throw away some of the furniture as it had been eaten by termites.
The house is only two years old but looks considerably older. The stilts have quite a few cracks in them and the outside of the house, which was once white, is now very dirty from all the dust that is blown about.
The house is set back from the road. We have to cross a small, rickety bridge over a trench to get to the road that our house is on. There are no paths anywhere. To get to the house you have to avoid the animal dung, but once at the steps to the house you are safe ! The steps are wooden and also painted white.
Outside the front door is a little porch where we keep our shoes and can sit and read.
It is rude to walk into a Guyanese house with your shoes on, so we make a special effort to keep the floor clean.
Our garden is surrounded on all sides by a high metal fence which has large holes for all the wildlife to pass through.

When we arrived the garden was quite overgrown but some local children came round and hacked it all down with big knives. In one corner of the garden is a concrete plinth where we burn all our household waste. There is no refuse collection here.
The three billy boats Gruff seem to have taken up residence in our garden and along with the chickens, cows and pigs all take turns in rummaging in our rubbish.
In the middle of the garden is a mango tree. We have yet to eat any fruit as it isn’t ripe yet.